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Dallas Official Wants Power Outage Investigation

Oncor Lineman | Image by Oncor/Facebook
Oncor Lineman | Image by Oncor/Facebook

A member of the Dallas City Council is calling for an “urgent” and “thorough” investigation into the extended power outages that left hundreds of thousands of North Texans without electricity following a series of severe storms that ripped through the area during the last week of May.

Oncor deemed the recent thunderstorms the worst ever seen in Dallas County and the second-worst overall in the company’s 112-year history, per NBC 5 DFW. The Texas-wide utility company reported that 650,000 customers, the majority of them residing in Dallas County, were left without power.

Council Member Paula Blackmon (District 9) called upon Oncor to take immediate action to improve systemic issues and communication with the residents they service.

“I am writing on behalf of the residents of East Dallas who have experienced prolonged power outages following the recent severe storms,” wrote Blackmon in a memorandum. “While we appreciate the work done in the aftermath of the storms, our East Dallas community experienced a significant impact to their quality of life during their loss of power. We would like to understand what happened and how we can work together to create a resilient company.”

Blackmon claimed that losing electricity for an extended period compromised residents’ safety and well-being. She said residents struggled to access accurate information from Oncor as to their power-outage status and restoration timelines.

Blackmon specifically asked for information regarding:

  • Extent of damage to infrastructure
  • Crew deployment and response times
  • Communication protocols during emergencies
  • Measures to prevent similar delays to power restoration in the future

“We look forward to working together in understanding what transpired this past week and what can be done to prepare for the next severe storm,” Blackmon wrote. “Additionally, we request a community meeting with Oncor representatives to present these findings and find ways to collaborate better with the City of Dallas.”

A spokesperson for Oncor said in a statement obtained by NBC 5 DFW that the outages were “complex” and “time-consuming” and required the reconstruction and replacement of equipment, utility poles, and transformers.

Oncor acknowledged the lack of communication between the company and residents, noting that its notification system experienced an issue throughout the storms.

“We actively worked to correct it and offered alternative options for customers to report outages and receive more information,” the spokesperson said.

On June 1, Oncor published a statement regarding the remaining outages following the week of severe weather.

“Most of the remaining outages are concentrated in the hardest-hit areas, which include East Dallas, North Dallas, Mesquite, Balch Springs, and Lufkin, and are the most difficult to repair,” the company wrote. “These outages are localized and impact individual homes or businesses or small clusters in neighborhoods. They are more complex to tackle and they affect only a few homes or businesses, instead of entire neighborhoods making the restoration process longer.”

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